Mike Huckabee’s role in pushing controversial beach access law

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Teresa, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    Did I miss something?

    BFOs have from day one been decribed as mean and greedy....and now arrogant? Bob, who exactly is doing the name calling? What standards do they apply?

    Oh never mind, I see you’re not ever going to discuss this situation any longer.

    When people challenge the intellectual process of others, they’re called arrogant here on SoWal from what I can see.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
  2. Dave Rauschkolb

    Dave Rauschkolb Beach Fanatic

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    https://www.pnj.com/story/opinion/2...-public-beach-floridians-marlette/1289598002/

    Marlette: Huckabee pirates beach from the peeps!
    Andy Marlette, Pensacola News JournalPublished 8:59 a.m. CT Sept. 15, 2018

    What kind of big-government, power-hungry, liberal elitist would try to use abusive, overreaching laws to strip hard working Floridians of our most precious freedom to simply step foot on the beach and in the Gulf of Mexico?

    Mike Huckabee is that kind of liberal elitist, apparently.
    Thanks to news last week from the Tampa Bay Times’ Steve Bousquet, we now know that the former Republican governor from Arkansas pushed for a state law that has caused chaos in Northwest Florida by banning average folks from accessing beaches in Walton County.

    But our beaches are sacred, right? What kind of big-government elitist would want to ban average folks from our beautiful, God-made shoreline?!

    Elitists like Mike Huckabee, that’s who.

    Bousquet revealed that Huckabee wrote to a South Florida state senator about HB 631 — the law that has now banned folks from being on beaches in Walton County. In the email, Huckabee sounds like the most sensitive of snowflakes as he complains about everything from taxes to music to “dog feces.”

    “Large tents with large groups with boom boxes make using my own property very difficult during high season,” wrote Huckabee, who built a multi-million dollar compound on beachfront lots in Walton County. “I’ve had underage kids smoking pot and openly drinking,” he added, before detailing a list of other gripes, regulations and rules.

    Playing the victim card is a classic tactic of big-government elitists who want to abuse the law to restrict the basic rights and freedom of others.

    While true freedom-loving, American beach lovers like Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney celebrate things like music, fun and fellowship on our beaches, angry elitists like Huckabee want to control and punish it. Typical!

    Bousquet’s revelations about Huckabee’s email add new context to a document that a reader sent to the PNJ in recent months — an email allegedly authored by Huckabee to an undisclosed Walton County commission candidate. The identity of the recipient is blacked out in the document. And calls to both Huckabee and multiple candidates to confirm the email were not returned.

    However, many of the same laments and specific language from his email to the state senator are present in the message to an unconfirmed candidate.

    “I know you are running for Commissioner, and I would like to get clarification on your views regarding 'customary use,'" reads the email. “It’s more like customary theft. … I daily pick up trash, glass bottles, cigarette butts, dog feces, plastic wrappers and even used condoms left on my walkdown.”

    At one point, the email even alleges pornographic activity on a waterboard. “Two weeks ago, a young couple stripped naked and conducted various sex acts including intercourse on a YOLO board in clear sight of the beach in front of my home at 2 in the afternoon … . Is this ‘customary?’”

    Huckabee’s involvement in HB 631 adds another piece to a puzzle as to how an overreaching state law that has hurt beachgoers and tourism in Northwest Florida was sponsored by a South Florida Democrat and backed by multiple Republican representatives from Northwest Florida. Clay Ingram. Frank White. Jayer Williamson. All these self-professed small-government lawmakers voted for a law from a South Florida Democrat that has now hurt local government and beachgoers in Northwest Florida.

    Previous reporting also confirmed that Congressman Matt Gaetz had phone calls with the South Florida Democrat as the law was being crafted to specifically target beaches in his own district. Gaetz is no stranger to wars on beach freedom, as one of his first failures in Congress was an attempt to snatch publicly owned beaches from the citizens of Escambia County. And the close personal ties between the Huckabee and Gaetz families are no secret, either.

    Just think of it as “Beach Blanket Jingo,” where a few ultra-wealthy, authoritarian elitists hawkishly declared war on basic freedoms of average folks in Northwest Florida. And all this time they’ve been warning about others trying to take away your freedom, ol’ Huckabee has been plotting to control where you can dip your toes in the Gulf of Mexico. Sad!

    It’s the sort of aristocratic, land-stealing, rich boy mentality that you’d expect to find in Sherwood Forest, not Northwest Florida. Oo-de-lally, oo-de-lally, golly what a sham!

    Yet this is the recurring tale of two ideologies — the one that’s often preached by phony Panhandle political types and the one they actually practice. They love to talk a big game about liberty and freedom, until it’s wearing board shorts, baiting a hook and cracking a cold one in front of their Gulf-front mansion.

    The lesson? The politics professed by some of these people is about as cheap as the Arkansas carpetbag they moved to Florida with.

    HB 631 is a clear cut case of big-government gone wild and it has attacked one of the most treasured common experiences of everyone who lives here on the Gulf Coast. Forget differences in personalities or politics. Some truths are universal and self-evident and so simple we all get it — beaches belong to the people.

    God made it. God gave it. To all of us.

    Maybe if Mike Huckabee quit yapping about “dog feces” and listened to the Almighty a little more often, he’d understand that. Can we get an amen?
     
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  3. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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  4. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    Dave R and Teresa why do you not post recent articles from knowledgeable Tallahassee media?

    Walton County Customary-Use Leaders Playing a Dangerous Game
    Read the 122 Comments too.

    Walton County Customary-Use Leaders Playing a Dangerous Game
    By Nancy Smith
    September 8, 2018 - 6:00am

    Nowhere in Florida is the new law dealing with beach access the firestorm it has become in Walton County. The reason is complicated. But many folks along the panhandle's Emerald Coast claim it's not helping that a pair of local crusaders have a lot of citizens convinced House Bill 631 is the worst thing to befall Florida since Mercury went retrograde.

    In the last month Dave Rauschkolb and Daniel Uhlfelder -- brothers in activism -- have made themselves the pied pipers of HB 631 repeal -- whipping people up to sign affidavits, attend meetings, donate money -- in a nutshell, "make Florida beaches public for all."

    Rauschkolb is a restaurateur, Uhlfelder an attorney. Together they're what former seasonal Seaside resident Lilly Bell calls "a tag team," dominating social media and public meetings to get people riled up against each other.

    "Walton used to have only a handful of beachfront residents who wanted to enforce their privacy all the way to the water," said the retired interior decorator. "But most of them didn't care if people sat on their sand. Then Dave and Dan came along and caught a glimpse of the fame and attention they could get nationally. Now we have a civil war here."

    The war, she said, is between the "coastal elites" -- residents, guests and tourists who live or vacation along 30A, the scenic beach road, -- and the rest of Walton County.

    Bell told Sunshine State News, "All you need is a camera, and (Rauschkolb and Uhlfelder) come running. They need to control people. They like to hear themselves talk and read what they write on Facebook. I think they're on some kind of power trip. My late husband called them a tag team."

    HB 631, was sponsored by Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, and Rep. Katie Edwards-Walpole, D-Plantation. The bill passed the Florida Legislature with an overwhelming bipartisan majority and 100 percent support of the Walton County delegation -- 29-7 March 6 in the Senate and 95-17 March 8 in the House. That's a total of 24 votes against in the whole of the Legislature. No wonder the governor didn't veto it. Why would he?

    Uhlfelder believes the legislation was a sneak attack -- that Walton was deliberately excluded until it was too late to fight back. Which is why I was disappointed Rep. Brad Drake, R-DeFuniak Springs never returned my call. I would have liked to ask him why he or the county's stable of lobbyists didn't point out 631 to County Administrator Larry Jones, at the very least.

    Jones, incidentally, did his Master's thesis in customary use. Perhaps he might explain how he could let the county adopt an incomplete and unacceptable customary-use ordinance.

    Meanwhile, Rauschkolb and Uhlfelder were discovering the high-theater potential of private property rights vs. customary use. They made customary use their next fight for justice.

    Rauschkolb, who owns three restaurants in Seaside and a bakery/cafe/catering company in Grayton Beach, is used to getting things done. He takes credit for what he calls "game-changing community initiatives" including keeping high-rise condos out of South Walton, founding Hands Across The Sand (to stop offshore oil drilling in Florida); lobbying to remove the Confederate flag from the DeFuniak Springs courthouse, launching an effort to incorporate South Walton, and now something he calls "Stand Your Sand" -- a take-off of Stand Your Ground and an initiative for customary use of Florida’s beaches.

    Uhlfelder, son of prominent Tallahassee lobbyist Steve Uhlfelder, has worked as a law clerk, staff aide in The White House, in the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives. Now he has his own general law practice on 30A in Grayton Beach. Among his causes, he says he has worked avidly to bring down the Confederate flag. And he believes creating a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization called Florida Beaches for All (FBFA) is the way to "overturn bad law and give citizens the fundamental right to use and enjoy all our beaches. ... I was raised in an environment where you stood up for things, not on the sidelines," he said during a telephone interview.

    Uhlfelder made national news in July, the weekend after Gov. Rick Scott signed an emergency order supporting open beaches. And that's when his mushroom started to grow -- away from compromise, closer to a move for legislation repeal.

    Uhlfelder challenged the new law two days in a row -- some say he was trying to get arrested for trespassing on private sand, but he claims he was "just trying to get a line drawn in the sand" so he would know where he could legally park his beach chair. The second day, when a security guard called the Sheriff's Department, Uhlfelder made sure his experience was recorded on YouTube and displayed on Facebook. The video went viral, gaining more than 100,000 views on YouTube alone and well over 1 million views across social media platforms. (The video is displayed on this page.)

    In addition, Rauschkolb was interviewed on the Weather Channel, which serves millions of viewers across America. National Public Radio showed up on the beach soon after. So did U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, looking for an opportunity to kick the governor, his senatorial opponent in November. And between the two proactive "protests" -- Uhlfelder's and Rauschkolb's and what has been described as "dozens of media interview requests," Walton's war for the beach had begun.

    But some in the county, even the ones who don't live on the beach, have begun to grumble about what this customary-use movement is doing to their jewel of a county, and wonder if there might have been a more civil way for the two sides to come together.

    Here are some of the disturbing aspects to Walton's situation:

    The Conspiracy Theory. You don't often find a tin foil hat on a liberal, but Uhlfelder, the registered Republican for voting convenience only, sure is wearing one. This leader so many customary-use advocates are counting on has a conspiracy theory that goes straight to the top. He feels certain Walton County, where the suspicious "Governor Mike Huckabee" is a beach-owning resident, is being victimized by powerful dark forces. Uhlfelder is convinced "right-wing groups" -- for example, the Koch Brothers and the private property rights law firm Pacific Legal Foundation -- have hatched a plot at the highest level to make customary use unconstitutional and to privatize every inch of beach in America. "It's close," he told me. "They could do this in two years."

    The Hypocrite Factor. Rauschkolb and Uhlfelder both live in communities with gated private beach access. Dave lives in fully-gated Watersound, Dan in Watercolor. To challenge the law and make his YouTube video, Uhlfelder had to contrive his beach outing to Vizcaya -- travel down to the end of 30A more than seven miles away, past some nine beach access points, when he had his own beach. Reading recent Facebook postings, the deception isn't sitting well with some residents.

    Using the Sheriff. Sheriff Mike Adkinson and his deputies are slap-bang in the middle of the dispute. Adkinson is the right sheriff at the right time for on-the-spot conflict resolution -- patient, good with people, wanting desperately not to arrest anybody for trespassing. "I'm not proferring an opinion of customary use," he said. "My job is to make sure we're not being arbitrary and capricious in the way we apply the law. A sheriff's office should never be the tool to resolve this. ... But I can tell you this: All these people who say 'we're saving the beaches'? No, they're not. The only place this is going to be decided is in court."

    Overlooking the Good Guys. Some 90 percent of Walton's beachfront property owners are embarrassed and offended to be lumped in with the 10 percent erecting signs and stringing up ropes to keep people off the sand. They don't mind well-behaved trespassers, as their presence on county Facebook sites attests. I asked Uhlfelder if he would entertain compromise instead of repeal. He said no. "You know what compromise is, don't you? It's money. They want us to pay for our own sand."

    Affecting Tourism. Last year Walton welcomed 4.5 million visitors. Because of such strong tourism, the county records the lowest adjusted property tax rate in Florida. But 2018 might not be as strong if the compulsory-use battle continues. I asked VISIT FLORIDA Marketing Director Meagan Dougherty, by phone and by email, what affect, if any, the beach-access publicity was having on Walton tourism. She did not respond. But another VISIT FLORIDA official answered my question on condition of anonymity. "Hospitality industry people in Northwest Florida are telling us reservations are down and cancellations are up," the official said. "Of course they are. The national media got hold of a story that's telling the nation Florida's beaches are closed."

    Fast, Loose and Frightening. Dan Uhlfelder is a lawyer. Florida Beaches for All is his baby. So, wouldn't you think he would make a priority of protecting the reputations of the people and organizations bundling under the FBFA umbrella? Last I looked, the non-profit 1) hadn't registered as a 501(c)(4) and 2) wasn't collecting Department of Revenue sales tax on the T-shirts and tank tops it's selling. (CORRECTION: FBFA is registered as a non-profit and must answer to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, not the Department of Revenue. I apologize for the error. But the issue is this: The charity is not registered with the state to solicit contributions at this time. That requires a permit FBFA does not have. When FBFA does apply, and their name appears on the "Check-a-Charity Florida" website, I will write a follow-up story to confirm the legal changes have been made.)

    Deception, Confusion. Hundreds of Walton Countians are expected to show up at today's public hearing on customary use at South Walton High School with signed and notorized affidavits. But when they do, many of them might discover they've been misled.

    'You mean, our affidavits aren't going to get us back our use of the beaches?" Walton visitor Daniel Flyer asked me.

    Flyer said he was led to believe the affidavit he signed and had notarized was as good as a petition to repeal the law. Which is what Uhlfelder is urging. He didn't fully realize the hearing was a county meeting set by commissioners to gather evidence of customary use -- citizens' use of the beaches over a period of 20 years -- so the county can prepare an ordinance that complies with the judicial process laid out in the new Florida law.

    No wonder Flyer's misunderstanding makes sense. If you plan to repeal, why would you need to complete the county's affidavit?
     
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  5. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    When any reasonably minded person reads this first paragraph, it should be very obvious the rest of the article is going to be crap....unless you’re blinded by the light. I wasn’t disappointed.

    Oh, forgot to add, I wasn’t surprised at all that D.R. would post something like this - more fodder to whip the blinded in shape.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
  6. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    It is on both sides. If you want to read as just one then that is your prerogative.
     
  7. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    Dave, please take your conspiracy theories back to your closed Facebook page “Walton County Ideas for Visioning and Quality of Life”. Informed posters and readers here that are knowledgeable of the facts and law. Everyone STOP the Gov Huckabee conspiracy theories!!!! Gov Huckabee did not do anything any of the other 94%, of the about 1,000, private beachfront owners did to educate other owners that Walton’s object was to create public beach between private beachfront properties with an artificial Erosion Control Line (ECL) and rejected the Walton 50+ year easements.

    “An act [beach fortification?] that would have nullified this quiet title bid(s).” 94% of the about 1000 beachfront owners rejected Walton’s 50+ year easement and sand on our private properties because beachfront owners reject Walton commissioners from turning our beachfront to beachview with bad sand. Had NOTHING to do with quiet title. More Dave R fake facts.

    NOTHING in the NY Times May 2015 dribble you posted reports anything the other many 900+ beachfront owners did not do or say in 2016. We're just are not celebrities that the malicious posters try to justify their self aggrandizing conspiracies. Where is your evidence Huckabee did anything except spend his time discussing alternatives to litigation with commissioners, who ignored him, and you rejected publically, and spend many many hours on the March 2017 Walton Customary Use Committee. A committee chaired by the late Tom McGee, a vocal customary use advocate, and Co-Chaired by Mike Huckabee. Dave, I did not see you volunteer your time to help the committee.

    I don’t think even a former Arkansas Governor’s “considerable political influence” can convince Florida 148 legislators to vote for or against HB631;
    House 2/14/2018, 92 Yeas - 14 Nays / 87%
    Senate 3/6/2018, 29 Yeas - 7 Nays / 81%
    House 3/8/2018, 95 Yeas - 17 Nays / 85% including local FL House Rep Brad Drake

    The percentages reflect the egregious actions of a local government that declared customary use without DUE PROCESS in court first! FS 163.035 does not affirm or dismiss customary use and does NOT “privatize” 1,000 already private beachfront properties.
     
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  8. lazin&drinkin

    lazin&drinkin Beach Lover

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    Marlette will be the first to know if he has rectal polyps. He’ll see them under his direct gaze. Perhaps he should get his head in the game instead. No wonder Dave R has such issues, reading drivel like that. That column is to journalism as red tide is to the beach. Defilement and stench come to mind.
     
  9. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    Tersesa, it is many of the community's decision to vilify and name call a group of law abiding residents, property tax payers who earned their property and all the rights included with your property, and citizens that have what the community wants but don't want to ask or pay for it. ANY county that declared customary use without DUE PROCESS in the court first would have been "singled out" by FS 163.065. Walton commissioners were just the only misguided politicians with $171,400,000 of tax payers money to do it. Walton had their lobbyist, commissioner, and paid supporters in opposition to HB631 at the legislative hearings too. You can give thanks to ALL the beachfront owners and Americans who support the Constitution of the United States of America - of which Mike Huckbee is one - who demanded a court due process first would be the best solution. Stop the Huckbee attacks - that will be a good start for the peace.
     
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  10. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    To make unsubstantiated posts about a person you don't know, never talked to, and have NO facts - is idiotic. You accused ME of being Huckabee. Maybe I am - maybe I'm not. You accused FactorFiction of being Mike Huckabee too.
     
  11. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    The source is Sunshine State News which is not considered professional media from what little I could find about its history and content. Just read a few pieces on the site and see what you think

    I wanted to share this along with another earlier article from this source to show the desperate actions and words of someone from the private property camp but it's not even clear what camp they are coming from. I don't really want to share lowbrow online "news" sources here or anywhere. This is extreme attack reporting and not worthy of anyone's time unless you enjoy the entertainment aspect. I am not entertained by such an attack on our entire community by someone who knows absolutely nothing about it.

    This kind of hit piece doesn't help our community on any side of the issue. Just nasty business. I suppose an extreme right wing website source can pose as legitimate but that does not make it so. No one can figure out who owns this site. Big Sugar? Rick Scott? Breitbart?

    Some of the comments are interesting and revealing. Otherwise it's rubbish.
     
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  12. jodiFL

    jodiFL Beach Fanatic

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    And someone is calling a one sided one person interview from a "former seasonal resident" of the original "resort" on 30A "knowledgeable" reporting??
     
  13. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    You are the SoWal "Staff Member" and judgement knows what is best for this forum [sarcasm]. What do you call Dave Rauschkolb's and your cartoon? Desperate? Low brow? Extreme attack reporting? Not worthy? Rubbish? The reporter Andy Marlette is NOT a local and resides in Walton? He does not own property in Walton county. Does Andy know about our community or does any of the other media not from here? That'd leave just the Defuniak Herald and Walton Sun?
     
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  14. Beauford

    Beauford Beach Lover

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    These were posted all over Blue Mountain Beach, then removed by an angry woman not sure if she lives here.

    fb.jpg
     
  15. Lake View Too

    Lake View Too SoWal Insider

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    Anybody is welcome to post to Sowal anything they find on other media. NWFDaileyNews has been covering this story pretty well. On Facebook they are posts about Mr. Lince posting on some Tallahassee media trying to intimidate and scare people who have signed affidavits into believing that they could be sued. It's fairly telling that Tallahassee media is doing hatchet jobs on CU proponents, and all the neighboring media (Pensacola, Ft. Walton, and Panama City) seem to be rather fact-based and accurate. Follow the money.
     
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  16. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    And should have been.
     
  17. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Andy Marlette's opinion piece and political cartoon were published in a legitimate area newspaper which has a history of covering the customary use issue and its impacts on the Emerald Coast of Florida. You may not agree with his interpretation of the events regarding Huckabee and the overall issues. But it is based on actual facts. Many do agree with this piece based on Huckabee's own words and actions that have been made public. It isn't a conspiracy. Though you may have a different perspective of his motives.

    It is my personal preference to post legitimate sources here or elsewhere. You may have different standards. And that is your choice. No one is saying otherwise.
     
  18. boomerang

    boomerang Beach Lover

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    Huckabee started this war - which now pits neighbor against neighbor. Great Christian thing to do.

    We only want to use the beaches as we had before he got here.

    This impacts all of us - we have every right to be mad as hell.

    It is highly selfish of BFOs to deny our use of the beaches and even go as far as denying trash pick up.
     
  19. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    STOP the Huckabee conspiracy theories! Customary use started around here back in 2003 before I got here - before he got here. The Walton commissioners failed to manage growth and declared customary use on private property - not Huckabee or the other 1000 beachfront owners. You can be mad but you can NOT falsely villanize people, spread hateful rumors or encourage others, or not speak out to stop the hate - like Bob Wells did recently.

    It''s NOT about picking up trash; it's about RESPECTING private property rights and who has property rights - the property owner or local elected government politicians? If you think you have property rights to beachfront property you should go to court and make your case. I know of 2 individual customary use cases in Walton, litigated by Walton's hired attorney, David Theriaque, no court has ruled for customary use yet.
     
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  20. boomerang

    boomerang Beach Lover

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    No - it all started in and about 2012 and later when beach front owners started putting up private property signs and even fences.

    Walton county reacted to this by passing customary use.

    You can deny all you want - I believe he pushed 631 through our legislature - and i am appalled at his accusations of what has occurred on his beach.

    Talk about conspiracy theories.
     

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